Member Spotlight: Nathan Reyna

August 10, 2022

In our member spotlight, Nathan Reyna takes a few minutes to chat with SMPS. Nathan is media relations and content specialist for Avison Young and incoming president of SMPS New York for the 2022–23 fiscal year. In this spotlight, Nathan shares the rewards of his career and the benefits of being an SMPS member.

How long have you worked in the A/E/C industries? I’ve been in the A/E/C industries since 2013. I started working for a public relations firm where my clients were advanced product manufacturers for buildings and eventually moved to do marketing/communications for a few architecture and engineering firms. I currently work adjacent to the A/E/C industry in a media relations role.

How long have you been an SMPS member? I joined SMPS in 2016 and have loved every minute of it!

How did you decide to have a career in the A/E/C industries? I’ve always had a passion for the built environment; I’m an architecture and city planning nerd. Since I wasn’t great at math, I knew I could hype better than I could design, so I went into the marketing/communications realm.

How would you describe your role/job? I currently develop news content for Avison Young, a global commercial real estate brokerage. That typically entails relationship management with our media contacts, developing interesting stories to announce our deals and strategic initiatives, and partnering with our marketing team to deliver high-value content to promote the company.

What’s your favorite part of the job?  The fast pace and high volume is something new for me, and I have to say I love it. For so many years, I’ve felt like I’ve been screaming into the void trying to get placements or recognition for my firms. Now, the media and stories come to me—but it’s my job to filter that through our strategic lens.

What have been the rewards of your career? Beyond the monetary gains I’ve enjoyed these last few years, the biggest reward is confidence in what I do. I’ve been fortunate to have some real champions in my corner to help guide and direct me to being a better resource for my teams—and most of those champions I’ve found through SMPS.

What has been your most meaningful project? I really cut my teeth on content when I was working for a corporate interior/design firm. Helping them launch their research and development section of the website was a real highlight because I got to dig into how the technologies we used worked and why they were important. That experience helped me understand the finer points of storytelling. Additionally, putting together my SMPS New York board of directors for the 2022–2023 year and seeing their enthusiasm for the success of our chapter is really invigorating. I think it’s going to be a great year!

Why is membership in SMPS important to you and how has it helped you to advance your firm and your career? Membership at SMPS is important because it helps you come into the best version of yourself. Frankly, though, if you put that membership on the shelf as a box you check off, you’re not going to get much out of it other than discounted rates to events. If you want better visibility for your firm and for yourself, and want to really expand what you’re capable of, I suggest volunteering and really diving into the experience—engage with other members—that’s where you really get the harvest you’re looking for. I more than tripled my salary since I began working in this industry and that’s based on jobs I’ve found through my connections within SMPS—that’s a proof point you can take to the bank.

What has contributed to your success? Being proactive has a lot to do with your success. We all have to set goals for ourselves at our companies and in the work we do—I really learned this lesson over the last few years during the pandemic. If you don’t have your sight set on something, you’re not really going to make any traction in your career. I know what it is I want to achieve, and I’m on that trajectory—the confidence I’ve gained through my experience in the industry and SMPS is a major contributor to why I choose to be proactive.

What’s the best advice you’ve received regarding your career or working in A/E/C? Those who know me know I have a lot of … enthusiasm … for our organization and industry. The regional marketing director at my last position simply told me to slow down, take a beat, and don’t worry about responding to everything. I want to prove that I’m great at what I do, but she showed me that I can do that by listening and being more observant rather than trying to do all the things.

What’s the best career advice you’ve given? Get into it! If you put in the effort, you’re going to go far. If you just sit on the sidelines, nobody will recognize your worth. Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer—that’s what we’re all about! It’s how you grow.

What’s on your bucket list? More travel! I’d love to tour Europe and the Mediterranean, Thailand, and Patagonia. I’ll get there someday. I’m also happy just lounging by the pool—maybe I just want my own pool.

Guilty pleasure: What can you not live without? I can’t live without downtime—don’t mess with my free time! Also, fast food and sci-fi/fantasy.